Study smart and prioritize self-care
Strategies for the upcoming final exam period
The end of the term is fast approaching and it’s almost time to write your exams. Whether it’s your first time or you’ve written many exams before, everyone can use some strategies for studying and self-care. Don’t forget to take advantage of resources and support programs that can support your health, wellness and academic success! Make sure to check your exam schedule, and manage your exam conflicts and deferrals ahead of time.
Here are some recommendations as you focus on studying and writing your exams.
When you don’t know where to start, don’t panic and stay calm. You still have time to get organized. Try using these pointers to help you get back on track and be as productive with your study time as possible.
- Organize essential test materials such as readings, lecture notes, practice questions, assignment questions, and homework.
- Create a study schedule and pay close attention to courses and areas that you need to improve on, but keep in mind it’s also important to review material you know.
- Be prepared. Knowing the type of exam you are writing (e.g., multiple choice vs. long answer, closed vs. open-book) will help you know what to expect. Open-book exams tend to be application-based and will likely require you to go beyond answers in the book. Prepare for this kind of exam as you would a regular exam.
- Don’t cram. Cramming overtaxes your memory and you will end up remembering less, or even get confused about the material.
- Test yourself daily. Use chapter quizzes, flash cards, or make test questions for yourself instead of only reading notes. Re-organize and divide information for best results.
- Don’t just memorize. Understanding the material will ensure that you retain it.
- Study with others. Reviewing material with a classmate and having a second perspective can benefit both of you. Studying in a group setting can also help students stay focused and motivated. Consider attending a Virtual Study Hall session through the Academic Learning Centre to study with others. No registration is required.
- Study hall hours are from 2:30 pm to 10 pm and will run every day (including on the weekend) from Tuesday, April 19 to Monday, April 25. The study halls will be facilitated by student staff with training in study skills and can, if asked, help with goal setting, and direct you to additional final exam study sources.
- You can stay for as long as you need. Students are encouraged to keep their cameras on, but it’s not required. Breakout rooms can be created for groups who are interested in preparing together for a specific exam, or who would like to chat with friends while studying.
- Be proactive. If you have questions, your first step should be to contact your professor, instructor or teaching assistant to get the answers you need. You can also get online help and find recorded Academic Success Workshops that can help you continue to succeed. UM Libraries can also help with term papers and exam preparation.
Being at your best during exams means you should focus on your wellness as much as you focus on studying. Many resources can help you thrive and take care of yourself. Here are some suggestions:
- Find a balance. Eat healthy meals, get the rest that you need and move your body. Take advantage of UM Recreation Services’ wide range of virtual workout sessions and the facilities and programs open on campus at this time.
- Get support. If you get anxious about exams, you are not alone. The Student Counselling Centre offers counselling services to students, including groups and workshops offered throughout the year.
- Develop good habits. Consult with the UM Health and Wellness Educator for tips on stress management and other ideas for healthier living. Healthy U also has multiple resources you can access at any time.
- Take short breaks regularly. Getting up and moving when you’re studying can help prevent neck pain and headaches. Doing this also gives your mind a rest so you can return to your work feeling refreshed.
- Make time for things that bring you joy and help you relax. Enjoy a hobby, spend time in nature, tidy up your space or connect with friends and family.
- Remember to breathe. It’s easy to forget this when you’re feeling stressed. Simply close your eyes and count your breaths, focusing on inhaling and exhaling slowly and deeply.
- Remember that your self-worth and value as a person is not determined by one test score or one exam. No matter the results of your exams or course grades, you are worthy of living a good life. Acknowledge how hard you’re working, show yourself kindness and remember that you are doing the best you can.
Look out for more exam-related tips on UM Today and @umstudent on Instagram!